We recently got the chance to speak with Bronek Wawrzynczuk of New Basketball Generation. Bronek is the Director of Scouting for NBG and is one of the most well regarded scouts by both front office personnel in Europe and the U.S.A., as well as college coaches in the U.S.A.. You may follow him on twitter @BronislawNBG and on the New Basketball Generation account @NB_Generation .
Q. New Basketball Generation (www.newbasketballgeneration.com) is one of the premier scouting services utilized by NCAA coaches for information about top European prospects. How many prospects does NBGeneration see each year?
A. It is hard to give an exact number. Our philosophy is not to over scout players and to constantly grow our database. We have members located in few different countries all over the Europe so it may be more than 1000 annually. Obviously only small percentage of them is selected to be reported for our clients.
Q. As the Director of Scouting for New Basketball Generation, please talk about your day-to-day role?
A. At first it’s about overseeing ongoing situations. The basketball business is the world of information, so you have to follow everything and stay in touch with people from various environments. Secondly it is about assisting our clients by providing intel on prospect backgrounds or academics. I also operate our company Twitter account and travel to the biggest tournaments or places where we lack contributors.
Q. Since you are constantly evaluating prospects in Europe and in touch with college coaches, what are some traits that college coaches seek in players when coming to you for information?
A. Potential, size, versatility, ability and athleticism level matters, but we are talking about college sports so it is never only about just skill set. Grades, personality, one’s mental approach for the game, English knowledge and the prospect’s inner circle are also important.
Q. How hard is it for European players to get recruited by college coaches in the U.S.A.? Based on your experiences in the game, what obstacles do you feel these players have to deal with?
A. It is not a secret that exposure is the key in this case. If prospects don’t play on the big tournaments, they fall off the radar at times. For example in well developed basketball countries such as Turkey, Lithuania, Spain or Serbia the difference between 10th and 20th best player from one class may not exist at all. Whether the player goes for lets say the FIBA U18 Championships or not is often decided by their current form or fitting the system of the coach. It means that we have kids out here who are really good and still undiscovered. Sometimes players wish to continue their careers in college, but don’t know the right people who may help them to get recruited. Also, heading to the U.S.A. for High School (where exposure is easy) is risky because some players lack off the court maturity at such a young age.
Q. Do you think there is good value in an exposure event in the U.S.A. for European players?
A. Definitely! For some of them, it may be the only opportunity to reach their goals or to get a more satisfying offer.
Q. How do you think a player’s recruitment will be benefitted by playing live in front of college coaches?
A. It is a low risk opportunity for college coaches, comparative to them going overseas for some showcases. This saves them money, and allows them to see players in their background, which means there will be many more coaches. It also allows coaches to see players out of their comfort zone – in a different country, time zone, culture and other things they will have to deal with after receiving a scholarship. It makes it easier to avoid making a mistake and helps influence their decision on whether to recruit a player or not.